Since early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has continued to cause many challenges for financial institutions. In response, banks have designed several relief programs to help their clients affected by the pandemic. In addition, the U.S. Congress has passed several financial assistance programs with the goal of helping consumers and businesses, which began with the passage of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act in March of 2020.

One of the challenges financial institutions have faced during the pandemic has been staying connected with clients during uncertain times. The firms that have managed to navigate this successfully have been those that have focused on the human aspects of the crisis and how they can help their clients find the security they need despite volatility.

In a webinar with the Financial Communications Society, April Rudin, founder and CEO of the Rudin Group, and Dipti Kachru, CMO of J.P. Morgan U.S. Wealth Management, discussed some of the key themes financial marketers and advisors need to be aware of as they continue to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.

Key Takeaways

  • Humanizing some of the challenges clients are dealing with due to the COVID-19 pandemic can help firms create more authentic campaigns.
  • For large firms, connecting with clients and empowering advisors to do the same can be a great way to build and strengthen relationships.
  • Doing something timely rather than creating something highly produced can feel more relevant to how people live and work at the moment.

How Firms Can Connect With Clients Amid Ongoing Volatility 

As financial firms have come to terms with the changing landscape since the early days of the pandemic in 2020, many have had to pivot their messaging. However, the core mission has remained unchanged—to help their clients create a secure financial future. 

“It comes down to a couple of themes,” says Kachru. “The big one is that our clients are trying to dimensionalize what this means for them and their money. As you think about where they are in their life journey, their sense of affluence, how they start to understand what is happening in the markets, there’s this need to answer the question of, ‘Am I going to be okay?’”

Crafting a message around that question comes down to understanding a client’s needs and their bigger concerns about the changes that are happening and those that are likely to follow as we continue on the path to recovery. According to Kachru, campaigns that capture that sentiment and respond to underlying concerns will likely resonate more closely with current and prospective clients.

Why Authenticity and Transparency Are More Important Than Ever

For years, authenticity has been a major theme in financial marketing, and the coronavirus pandemic has only accentuated the need for guidance and a sincere connection. Embracing the importance of authenticity within the advisor-client relationship can help financial firms move beyond strategic growth initiatives to create more lasting relationships.

The success of the J.P. Morgan ad (embedded in the video above) on the importance of the advisor-client relationship speaks to this type of authenticity and how it can help financial firms move beyond strategic growth initiatives to create more lasting relationships.

“The role of media is different at different times and for different purposes,” says Kachru. With this ad, her team was able to bridge some of the divides created by social distancing and the uncertainty of the current moment to offer clients the reassurance they need. “To bring about that story authentically at a time where we knew our clients were looking for advice was the kernel that led to it. Not just in the context of giving our clients the ability to know that we’re here and ready to help, but giving our advisors the comfort that it’s okay for them to represent that reality and still know that they can help their clients.”

The Bottom Line

As financial firms face new challenges, meeting those challenges with a client-focused mindset while embracing transparency could offer new pathways of connection.